Part of following your joy is about being still. When we’re busy and racing through life, we miss all kinds of opportunity for joy. I notice that the more I am “still,” the more I see all kinds of things around me that bring me joy…things that I might not have noticed otherwise.
A great example of this is from a few years ago when Bill and I were privileged guests at our friends’ beautiful beachfront condo in Florida. Before we left for our stay at the condo, our friends told us to pay attention and watch for the dolphins: “They’re out there all the time,” they said.
So during our visit, Bill and I watched and we waited. Not a moment went by that we didn’t stare out to sea, hoping for a glimpse of a smiling porpoise dancing in the waves.
Instead, though, throughout the week we were delighted with pelicans traveling in groups of two or three soaring past our sixth floor deck; herons walking along the low tide hunting for bugs; crabs scurrying down the shell-laden beach; lizards making their way across the pool pavement; and seagulls allowing the ocean breeze to carry them high in the sky.
Oh, how we would have loved for dolphins to round out this wildlife experience!
It was time
On our 10th and final day of vacation, Bill and I took a brisk walk along the beach and came back up to the room and made breakfast to eat out on the deck. For whatever reason, this was the morning that felt right. It was 10:30, and the air was HOT, and the humidity fogged up our sunglasses instantly and created thick condensation on our rapidly melting ice water.
As usual, we looked out to sea for that chance dolphin sighting. Earlier, we had the idea to meditate on the deck and “invite” the dolphins to visit us. So we did. After we finished our breakfast, we pushed our dishes aside and moved over to the two-seated glider, which faced the ocean directly head-on. We sat in a spot where our only view was the water ahead; we were close enough to the ocean—and high enough—that we could simply focus on the waves and on the horizon.
We both sat still, closed our eyes, and focused on relaxation and peacefulness through deep breathing to calm and quiet our minds. Our intention was to become grounded and centered, connect with nature and with the earth, and become one with the bigger picture of life and of the universe. Together, we imagined dolphins playing in the ocean and remembered that we are “one” with them…all a part of something bigger. So we invited the dolphins to come.
And they came.
Right straight out in front of our deck—they played and they danced and they swam.
“There’s another one!”
“And there’s three together!”
“And look over there!”
They lingered in the water and rode the waves. Their smooth jumps out of the water were almost like a “How you doin’?” to us. We were in awe. In this 100-degree heat index weather, we had goose bumps.
Dolphins as teachers
Bill reminded me to send my love and appreciation in return to them, so the prayer I said was “Thank you.” Thank you for teaching us to play. Thank you for reminding us to smile. Thank you for showing us how to have fun.
And the dolphins stayed and hung out and allowed us to witness that other side of life; what life can be like if we only dare to create it in that playful way.
Down below on the beach, families, sunbathers, and joggers stopped what they were doing to watch the show that was going on just beyond the swimming area. And from high up on our deck, Bill and I quietly observed nature’s beauty and gave thanks for the reminder of the powerful, universal connection that we are all a part of. And I don’t know of anything more joyful than that.
I’m so glad we took the time that morning to be quiet and still…and invite the joy to come.